Sen. Johnson honored for commitment to health care

Sen. Johnson honored for commitment to health care
U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) was honored March 20 with the 2007 Distinguished Community Health Defender Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers for his work and commitment to protect and expand the Community Health Centers Program.�

Members of the Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas presented the award to a representative from Johnson's office Tuesday, and met with staff regarding funding and operations of community health care centers.

Johnson has said in the past, "The health of our communities has always been a top priority of mine. In rural states like South Dakota, the Community Health Centers program is vital. I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish. We've made great strides. But much more work needs to be done."

The federally-funded Community Health Centers program was established nearly 40 years ago to help low income and medically underserved Americans gain access to health care. Today, health centers serve as the family doctor for more than 13 million low-income children and adults in 3,500 communities across the country.

Health centers serve 51,000 South Dakotans – keeping children healthy and in school, helping adults remain productive and on the job, and saving taxpayer money by providing high-quality preventive and primary health care, thus reducing unnecessary use of emergency rooms and hospitals.

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